Isabelle Kelly scores late try as NSW Sky Blues defeated Queensland Maroons 20-14 in Canberra

New South Wales beat Queensland 20-14 in Canberra to claim the women’s state of origin title for the first time since 2019.

Both sides scored three tries each, with the greater accuracy of Rachael Pearson’s shoe the big difference.

NSW halfback Pearson kicked two conversions and two penalty goals, while her counterpart, Ali Brigginshaw, missed a shot from just left of the post after Destiny Brill’s opener in the ninth minute.

Bench utility Lauren Brown also missed a conversion from the touchline that would have brought the score to 14 with just over 10 minutes left.

The Maroons missed another chance when winger Julia Robinson skillfully fired a Brigginshaw bomb and shot into the center of Shenae Ciesiolka to score with four minutes to go. But the bunker intervened and found that both outer defenders were offside at the kick.

It was perhaps best to avoid any controversy after the Sky Blues had just had a dubious attempt on the other side.

The bunker said what appeared to be a forward pass, which the video referee can’t pronounce, was actually a knock-on by Olivia Kernick leading up to an attempt by Tiana Penitani.

NSW Women's State of Origin player gang tackles Emily Bass from Queensland.
The Sky Blues dominated with their defense in the first half.Getty: Cameron Spencer

The tense ending was fitting for a game in which both sides exchanged tries on a regular basis, with four goals in the opening half, including remarkable solo efforts from opposing five-eighths Kirra Dibb and Tarryn Aiken.

NSW appeared to be the dominant side for most of the game, but Queensland held out and appeared to be on track for a smashing win after Evania Pelite’s 57th-minute attempt on the left wing but the missed conversion of Brown and Kelly’s game- sealing attempt resulted in bed.

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By Jon Healy

We call it there, but not for long

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Well, what a game. That was everything you could have hoped it would be and so quintessentially State of Origin. All that was missing was Queensland making up for the unlikely comeback they were threatening to make.

Sunday evening we will be back to blog the men’s competition. So I’ll see you then.

By Jon Healy

Isabelle Kelly has been named player of the game

It’s fitting that she should wear the Nellie Doherty Medal as she was one of the best of the Sky Blues tonight, but picking a player of the game tonight isn’t so easy.

Keeley Davis, Kezie Apps, Caitlan Johnston, Jessica Sergis, Kirra Dibb… they were all spectacular.

Kelly says she hopes people will “stay with us for the rest of the year to watch us.” As a reminder, there will be a second NRLW season and a World Cup later this year.

By Jon Healy

key moment

FULL-TIME: NSW wins Women’s State of Origin for the first time since 2019

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What a great game! It was tight as hell but NSW was definitely the better side. Frankly, I’m not sure how this game was as close as it was. It seemed like the Sky Blues were at the top all night, but the Maroons just kept holding on, until Isabelle Kelly’s late attempt.

NSW coach Kylie Hilder is absolutely harassed by her players. They all love this woman, it seems.

That game’s finish was nothing short of insane, with Ali Brigginshaw threatening to win the game for Queensland mostly with her shoe, aided by a pair of quirky hands from Julia Robinson. But the bunker found her offside, and Kelly went down the other side and took care of things.

By Jon Healy

70th minute: Keeley Davis restores short kick-off for NSW. That should do it.

Queensland has 20 seconds to go 98 meters.

By Jon Healy

Isabella Kelly! Did she seal it for NSW?

After Johsnton’s big run, she got a quick play-the-ball and the ball spun to Kelly, who was one of the best in NSW tonight, bouncing off Ciesiolka and Upton before diving in.

But Rachael Pearson misses the touchline conversion, so the lead remains one converted try with two minutes left. Can Queensland perform another miracle?

By Jon Healy

67th minute: Caitlan Johnston sends them apart like 10 pegs and again Brittany Breayley-Nati brings her just below the line.

By Jon Healy

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What an effort!! No. No attempt. Offside.

Julia Robinson made a great catch of a Brigginshaw bomb and skillfully cleared Shenae Ciesiolka, but both were offside.

Heartbreaking.

By Jon Healy

66th minute: The Maroons now seem too tired to perform their plays, so they resort to a Brigginshaw.

By Jon Healy

64th minute: The Maroons return possession with their own knock-on. Karma?

NSW tries to cross the boat with Simaima Taufa, but she is held up juuuuuust. Maroons drive off their tryline again.

By Jon Healy

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NSW has a very questionable pass and the bunker has called it a knock-on

Olivia Kernick definitely tried to fit in Emily Bass’ tackle and found Tiana Penitani. It was awarded a try on the field, but the bunker, unable to decide on forward passes, decided that Kernick’s ball was released before she wanted to.

Wow. Big call.

By Jon Healy

63rd minute: The Maroons tried a 40/30, but no luck. It was closer to a 40/20, but got neither. And the Blues are steaming across the field.

By Jon Healy

61st minute: Queensland is caught on the latter and returns the ball to NSW on their 20m line.

Simaima Taufa makes big strides for NSW and gets them up to speed on the 40m line from Queensland. Kirra Dibb follows with a sly kick, but the Maroons make great yards from the back.

By Jon Healy

key moment

Brown hits the post!

The third kick for Queensland to hit the woodwork tonight. Brutal to the Maroons with this game so close.

NSW leads 16-14 towards the last 10 minutes.

By Jon Healy

EVANIA PELITE YOUR STAR!

It looked like Tarryn Aiken was caught on the latter, but Pelite brought out her rugby skills, yanking the ball off her teammate like it’s a maul and firing around the outside to score right into the corner.

Brigginshaw struggled with distance tonight and has a long kick ahead of him here. But it’s actually Lauren Brown who takes the kick.

By Jon Healy

57th minute: Queensland reloads after Sergis Upton hits high.

Lauren Brown is held over the line after a dummy half run.

By Jon Healy

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Brigginshaw’s Brutal Bomb

After all that defending, bending and threatening to break, the Maroons finally come on the other side and Ali Brigginshaw torpedoed Yasmin Clydsdale, who can’t take it. Great opportunity for Queensland.

By Jon Healy

Isabelle Kelly has been sensational for NSW tonight. (Getty)

By Jon Healy

53rd minute: Pearson puts Tonegato through a hole and Tamika Upton stops her.

A bit of a break! A messy fifth tackle ends with Kezie Apps knocking, then she hits Tazmin Gray with an unnecessary tackle and hangs around. I don’t think Gray really appreciated it.

However, the rest of the players who got it mixed up seemed to be having fun.

By Jon Healy

51st minute: Tonegato breaks the middle again! She is hit hard by Brigginshaw, but more scythe comes from the Sky Blues.

Emily Bass places a caterpillar on her tryline, and Robinson and Pelite make big attacks, but again the Maroons kick from their 40m area.

By Jon Healy

50th minute: Almost a disaster for NSW. Brigginshaw squirmed through to Yasmin Clydsdale, who tried to break away from the wall of Maroons’ defenders heading her way, landing back in the goal area with Tonegato. It was an incredibly risky pass on her tryline (shadows of Phil Duke and Phil Sigsworth), but luckily for her, Brigginshaw knocked it.